5 Inflammatory foods to avoid . . .


. . . when you’re sick

We’re drawn to comfort foods when we’re sick, because, well, we want to be comforted! Because they make us feel good. Or do they?

Today I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy , and since I happened to have been sick this past week, my thoughts turned to what foods are good for you when you’re sick . . . and which ones aren’t. Next week I think I’ll cover some that might benefit you if you’re sick, but this week I’m going to share some I avoid when I’m sick.

I am not, of course, a doctor, nutritionist, or any kind of scientist or health professional, so do your own research, too.



Many adults are lactose intolerant. And many people are allergic to milk without ever being aware of it — it can cause diarrhea, constipation, even hives and difficulty breathing. Some milks have antibiotics and hormones in them.

Another problem with dairy is that it can encourage mucous, and since I’ve just spend most of the week mildly congested, it’s not something I really want to encourage.

Foods to avoid:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Ice cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

While I don’t consume a lot of dairy in general, no food is completely banished from my table. Most dairy is a sometimes thing, except for Greek Yogurt. As an almost-pescetarian, I find I rely on it fairly heavily for protein. And I like it. Right now I just don’t need any extra mucous, thank you very much. Interestingly Webmd says there’s little science behind the thought that dairy creates mucous (read the post here), so it’s up to you. I can skip it for a little while.

Vegetable cooking oils
Many of the vegetable oils we grew up with are high in Omerga 6 fats and low in Omega 3 fats — the exact opposite of what you want in your diet.

Oils to avoid:

  • Sunflower
  • Safflower
  • Canola
  • Corn


High Fructose Corn Syup (HFCS)
You’ll notice I didn’t mention sugars — sorry, they’re not off the hook, but I covered them in 5 Foods to Outrun a Flu/Cold here.

Long story short, HFCS is a very sweet sweetener with no nutritional value. It’s sole purpose is to make foods sweet. Even foods that don’t need to taste sweet, like ketchup and salad dressings. It’s cheaper and sweeter than sugar. Unlike fruit, which obviously has quite a bit of fructose in it, HFCS doesn’t have the fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that make fruit the better choice when you want something sweet.

HFCS makes its way into many foods and the only way to really tell if it’s in there is to read the ingredient list. In general you’ll find it in processed foods.

Gluten seems to be the darling everyone loves to hate. It’s trendy. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you probably can eat some gluten. But should you eat it when you’re sick? And what’s the problem with gluten, anyway?

One of the biggest problems with gluten today is that today’s wheat isn’t the same as your grandma’s wheat. Due to the genetic modificaion of wheat, it contains a lot more gluten today than it did in the past.

I personally believe that eating gluten free most of the time is a good idea, but I don’t shun bread all the time either — unless I’m sick. In general, when I’m sick, I try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. Have you ever looked at the long paragraph of ingredients on the pack of your loaf of bread? Or had bread that hadn’t gone moldy . . . after several months? Which doesn’t really have anything to do with gluten, I’m just saying.

I do eat Ezekiel bread sometimes, but I’ll be the first to say that it’s an acquired taste. A better option if you’re sick and just must have bread? Try sourdough bread. The fermentation process that creates sourdough bread also makes it much easier for most people to digest.

If you’re sick, you need to stay well hydrated. Boy, early on in my marriage I learned that one the hard way. I was really sick. Mr. Judy called me up to help him put up a new light in our kitchen, which I had to get up on a stepstool to reach. Why I didn’t tell him no, I’ve no idea, but it did seem a simple enough request.

I passed out right on top of the new light on the floor. Mr. Judy dragged me to a doctor, who threatened hospitalization if I couldn’t keep liquids down. Lesson learned.

So the problem with alcohol is that it can be dehydrating, the exact opposite of what you need. Hey, if your nana swears by hot toddies, and that’s what you want, go for it. But it may not be the best remedy (although the placebo effect is real). I don’t drink anyway.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Any tried and true remedies for cold/flu?

Do you avoid any of these when you’re sick?

What do you avoid when you’re sick?